Essential Sonographer Skills: Definition And Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Sonography is a medical process in which high-frequency sound waves help get dynamic visual pictures of organs, tissues and the blood flow inside the body. Sonographers are highly skilled health care professionals who perform the process of sonography using specialised equipment. Learning about the skills they require can help you to excel in this profession. In this article, we define sonographer skills, review some common skills that sonographers use and learn how to improve them.

What Are Sonographer Skills?

Sonographer skills are a combination of both hard and soft skills that sonographers use in their day-to-day job. They use such skills to help physicians and doctors and provide high-resolution images of organs or tissues. Many skilled and experienced sonographers work in hospitals and healthcare clinics. Some skills of sonographers may vary depending on their specialisation, such as vascular, paediatric, obstetrics, gynaecology and abdominal sonography. Understanding some common and unique skills of a sonographer can help you advance your career in this field.

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Examples Of Sonography Skills

Here are some essential skills that can help sonographers succeed in their career:

Attention to detail

A good sonographer can easily identify any problem by looking at and evaluating a patient's ultrasound report. Gaining attention to detail can allow them to identify the exact area of unhealthy tissues. You can improve this skill to ensure the highest accuracy during the entire process of ultrasound.

Sonographers can use attention to detail while evaluating medical images of internal body structures. They may also collaborate with physicians and analyse the imaging results. Aside from identifying unhealthy tissues, attention to detail can also help sonographers find any abnormalities in bone or tissue development.

Physical strength

Working as a full-time sonographer at hospitals or healthcare facilities can be tiring. On an average day, they can handle multiple scans depending on the number of patients admitted to the hospital. The daily job of a sonographer may also include moving heavy ultrasound equipment from one place to another and helping patients to move and change positions.

With good physical strength, they can prepare everything in the scanning room and work for long hours throughout the day. The job of sonographers may also require them to have excellent hand-eye coordination. For example, a sonographer with good hand-eye coordination can correctly position the probe and get a clear image of organs.

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Communication skills

Good communication can help sonographers build a healthy relationship with the patient. They can use their communication skills to get every minute detail related to the patient's medical condition. Sonographers often represent the health care facility and are on the frontline of the interactions with the patients. Communication skills can also help them in making their patients comfortable and ease the process of ultrasound.

Effective communication often plays an important role in maintaining the quality of patient care at hospitals. Sonographers can change their communication style according to the comfort of patients. For example, a sonographer can communicate differently with child and adult patients. They can use their interpersonal skills to calm patients and address their concerns.

Technical skills

The primary duties of sonographers include operating ultrasonic imaging machines and maintaining ultrasound equipment. Technical skills can help them use these technologies efficiently. They can learn how to use various medical imaging equipment by pursuing a bachelor's or diploma in ultrasonography. Trained sonographers can provide accurate images so that physicians can effectively evaluate abnormalities and select treatment options. Sonographers can become well-trained in medical equipment and ensure patients receive the necessary care and treatment.

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Empathy

Sonographers may deal with individuals undergoing treatment for terminal illnesses. As some patients may get scared of the process, having empathy can help sonographers understand the feelings of patients. Sonographers can relax patients before the sonography procedure. Empathy can also help them show understanding and compassion to patients according to their emotions.

Teamwork

Sonographers may work in different types of settings, such as hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities. Regardless of the setting, they often interact with other health care professionals, such as nurses and physicians. Developing teamwork ability can help sonographers effectively collaborate with their colleagues. As a sonographer, you can use your active listening and communication skills to convey important information to doctors and collaborate with them in treating patients. Sonographers can improve their teamwork ability by becoming solution-focused and respecting the ideas of other professionals.

Medical knowledge

Sonographers may require a strong medical understanding to analyse medical images. Candidates who want to become a sonographer can benefit from gaining a thorough knowledge of anatomy. Sonographers can learn important terms depending on their specialisation. Learning about body parts can help sonographers position patients to get the right images. They often use their medical knowledge to identify the difference between normal and abnormal anatomy.

How To Improve Sonography Skills

Here are some tips that you can consider to improve your sonography skills:

1. Pursue certification in sonography

Many candidates who want to become a sonographer pursue a bachelor's or master's degree related to sonography. Some of the popular courses are BSc Medical Imaging Technology, BSc Radiography and MSc Medical Lab Technology. You can pursue any of these courses and get certifications to improve your sonography skills. Pursuing a certification course can help you with technical knowledge, interpersonal skills, leadership and professional development. Here are some popular training and certification courses for sonographers:

  • Diploma in Ultrasonography

  • Certificate Programme in Infertility Ultrasound

  • Certificate Programme in Abdominal Ultrasonography

2. Volunteer at nursing homes

Sonographers can also improve their skills by taking volunteer opportunities. Volunteering can help them practise the skills they want to improve. For example, a sonographer can improve their interpersonal skills by communicating with patients and other health care professionals. You can volunteer at nursing homes or other health care facilities. It can provide you with experience of working with patients and becoming more comfortable with them.

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3. Learn from a professional mentor

Sonographers can also improve their skills by finding and learning from a professional mentor. You can also ask for feedback from an experienced member of your work team. Receiving feedback from an experienced sonographer can help you learn about your strengths and areas for improvement. They can help you with new and effective techniques of sonography. A professional mentor can also help candidates find opportunities to develop their abilities. Networking can be a great opportunity to learn from other professionals both in and outside the organisation.

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Sonography Skills In The Workplace

Sonographers may work in various health care settings such as hospitals. Here are the ways sonographers can use their skills in the workplace:

  • Collaborating with other professionals: Sonographers can use their teamwork abilities to collaborate with other professionals. They know how to communicate with others in their team and understand their perspectives. Problem-solving skills can also help sonographers resolve conflicts in the workplace.

  • Working in unfavourable environments: Good physical strength allows sonographers to work in various settings and environments. Their job may require moving around medical equipment or constant walking.

  • Evaluating imaging results: Sonographers can use attention to detail to evaluate and identify any abnormalities in imaging results. They may also use interpersonal skills to explain imaging procedures and results to patients.

Ways To Highlight Sonography Skills

Here are some tips that you can consider for highlighting your sonography skills during the job search process:

Sonography skills for a resume

Candidates can add skills relevant to the job role in their resumes. Mention your best skills and abilities in your professional summary. You can also include a skills section to highlight the skills that relate to the job role. Candidates can emphasise their skills while writing job duties in the work experience section. For example, you can highlight your medical knowledge by writing ‘performed ultrasounds and assisted radiological technologists in evaluating imaging results' in the work experience section.

Sonography skills for a job interview

Organise your answers to highlight essential skills during the interview. You can use an example and explain it by using the STAR method. STAR stands for situation, task, action and result. Briefly explain the situation that required a solution and tell what actions you took to resolve it. You can mention specific skills that you used to find the right solution. Another way to highlight your skills during a sonography job interview is by answering strength-based questions.

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